Tag Archives: orangutans

A day with the orangutans @ Camp Leakey di Taman Tanjung Puting di Kalimantan

W e were so lucky…getting up early allowed us to have the river to ourselves and the jetty at camp leakey. We were just the first of many to arrive, but we  didnt realise that until later. We moored across the river from the jetty.  Our joy and amazement knew no bounds….

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There is a family that lives near the jetty….

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They seemed relaxed and unbothered by our interest in them. It rained a couple of times while we waited for the 2:00 feeding to come around and they would disappear up into the trees, pulling branches over themselves to avoid getting wet.

Bu cathy and I headed off before the crowds, which did arrive in the interim. The boardwalk was easy to walk on as we passed through a small patch of swamp forest

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We arrived at the camp leakey headquarters

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We spent sometime reading and looking at the valuable information that was there for visitors. It is primarily a research centre.

After ourguide( everyone has to have one) registered us, we headed off again down the track through another bit of forest and then out onto a quite sandy and open piece of country where we encountered  more of our friends 🙂

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In the middle of the track. This female orangutan  it seems, has a habit of biting guests so we kept our distance and stayed alert…..they too were off to the feeding station.

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And there to greet us was the alpha male. We were left in little doubt about that. He was enormous,  with a mouthful of very sharp teeth and a roar on him that reverberated through the forest. RESPECT    you bet!

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In awe…

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We gazed and gazed.  A truly special experience ..

Tanjung Puting Taman Nasional Kalimantan

There is enormous diversity of plant and animal life in this beautiful national park. As we travelled up the river on our kelotok we were lucky enough to see some of this. My apologies at the outset for not knowing  all the names of plants and if anyone can identify I’d be grateful. There was sooo much to see and how to share was tricky to say the least. The vegetation was amazing……

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Along the edges of the Sekonyer river

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In the forest epiphytes galore

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Lianna and lichens

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Orchids…..

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Palm trees harvested for roofing materials

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Fruits for those that live in the forest

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Fantastic reflections, lush dense forest…habitat for the orangutans, gibbons and proboscis monkeys among others

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Large monitor lizards and freshwater crocodiles inhabit these waters.

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Journey up the sekonyer River Kalimantan

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This morning we set out from Kumai on our kelotok with the captain, our guide , an assistant and the cook ( with her son 4years old). The sun was already hot as we clambered on board about 8:00 this morning. We were welcomed by our captain with coffee , snacks and smiles . We had a farewell cuppa with our family on board before they headed off to work and we headed up river.

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The breeze was a great relief ….though its not supposed to be monsoon season, it sure is acting like it. The humidity is fierce as the clouds build up during the day.

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The turn off into the national park from the Kumai river

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The Sekonyer river is permanently a dark chocolate colour, mainly from the gold mining that occurs  further upstream. It is an enormous waterway which is able to accomodate large ships and barges. As we move off from the town and into the Taman Nasional Tanggung Putih,  it is bordered on both sides by a dense layer of palm trees, the branches and leaves  used for roof  thatching. 

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As we move up the river it is like an unfolding story with a changing kaleidoscope of vegetation both on the edge and further inland  with the occassional waterway branching of to the side with glimpses of small villages perched in the swamp jungle.

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As we get further into the day the humidity continues to mount and by the time we arrive at Tanggung Harapan it was hot, tho the odd gentle breeze eased this somewhat.

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Here we rested and looked over the plant nursery and the medicine plant area. We marvelled at the butterflies  and the number of medicine plants there were…. finally  the heavens opened. The rain was welcome, the humidity lessened. Lunch was delicious kangkung, omelette, rice and sambal. It was accompanied by a welcome rainstorm which cooled things off for a time. ( I seem to have a metabolism, where I loose almost as much water as there is rain, an exaggeration of course but you can imagine, and then add glasses to that steaming away haha)

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While we were having lunch tied up at the jetty,  a steady stream of kelotoks began arriving….hoolie doolie! We have to share this idyll with others?
Indeed we did…by the time we had walked through the lush green tropical rainforest we found a crowd of eager people clicking away on their cameras and this isn’t high season!

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The orangutans ( oranghutan – man of the forest in indonesian) were just amazing! My viewing  of them was  somewhat conflicted….tinged with sadness because of the knowledge that their habitat is daily being decimated in search of the $, filled with awe that we humans are descended from them,  awe at how closely we resemble them, yet at the same time how different we are, filled with joy and laughter at their capacity to play, take care of their young…

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A slow leisurely walk back to our kelotok  through the forest…..

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An early night tucked up in our mosquito netted beds. To be cont.